Republican Party

GOP Lawmakers Plot Future Infrastructure Opposition

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

I believe congressional Democrats will eventually use the budget reconciliation process to bypass a Republican filibuster and pass most if not all of President Biden's infrastructure spending proposals, but even if they do that doesn't mean Republicans will stop opposing the associated programs.

Republican state legislators are already vowing to use the power of their state governments to lock out some elements of Biden's programs if they pass through Congress and become law.

Two central pillars of Biden’s sweeping American Families Plan — universal pre-kindergarten and free community college tuition — are structured as partnerships between the federal government and states, meaning they will require both political and financial buy-in from local officials to get up and running.

But Republicans in states like Wisconsin, Florida and Alabama are already signaling that they would put up a fight against Biden’s expansive social welfare proposal, casting the plan as a blatant example of federal government overreach that would be costly both to implement and maintain. The issue represents an early battleground for GOP state leaders to stake out their resistance to Biden’s plans and, for some, rile up supporters before the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election.

“We’re not big fans of the federal government stepping in. And they do not have any constitutional authority to step in in the education realm,” said Chris Kapenga, the Republican president of the Wisconsin state Senate. “I do not see Wisconsin getting on board in any way with either the pre-K or the technical college.”

Can you even imagine saying that you're going to block free kindergarten and community college for your own constituents even though the federal government is going to pay for almost all of it? Can you imagine denying the enormous opportunity for economic expansion that would afford your own state or district? It's mindboggling.

But that doesn't necessarily mean it's surprising. These are the same Republicans who are currently abandoning enhanced unemployment benefits for their own constituents which is covered by the federal government. They're the same Republicans who've fought against the expansion of Medicaid even though the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost. And all of that money is already appropriated by Congress. It's just sitting out there. Republicans aren't saving a dime by refusing these things because they already paid for it in their own taxes.

The gulf between Republican and Democratically controlled states is going to widen in the coming years as Republicans increasingly drag their feet on virtually corner of public policy.